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Taking care of our soldiers

  • Posted on April 28, 2009 at 10:45 PM

Yesterday #2 son deployed overseas. I was on the phone with him late at night until we heard the call, "Soldiers, form up" and I knew he was leaving. We had laughed earlier when I asked him which personal items he took with him. I knew about the computer and NintendoDS. When I asked how many books he’d shoved into that rather large backpack, he just laughed and told me I’d need a higher security clearance to get the answer out of him. I’m going to assume that means "quite alot." Where does he get that need to read?

Last week when we visited, we snapped a few pictures that I wanted to share. Here is one of him with his brother just chatting about what the next year will be like. Then there’s the photo of me faking a smile so he’d never know how much I wanted to cry. Do you think he knew? 

As I wait for son to send me an address for letters, I can take comfort in writing to other soldiers. For the past two months I’ve been writing for the Soldier’s Angels Letter Writing Brigade. The Soldier’s Angels program provides you with the opportunity to step up and volunteer to be an angel and care for a soldier oversears.  

They even have opportunities to make it easier for you to send care packages. Imagine how I laughed when I saw some of the care packages contained Mary Kay products for protection against the sun and for the lips. I’ll be able to walk over to my own shelves to create my own care packages. 

The Letter Writing Brigade is one activity of this nonprofit organization of volunteers. According to their website:

The Letter Writing Team (LWT) is made up of registered Soldiers’ Angels who enjoy writing to our heroes, and who know how important it is to hear your name called at mail call (sadly some soldiers get no mail at all from back home). We select names from those that submit themselves through the Soldiers’ Angel website and have indicated that they would like to receive additional support. These soldiers are also assigned an Angel to provide ongoing support, but our team provides them with some extra cards and letters.

Before I blogged about them, I tried out the program by writing at least one letter a week to the name that is emailed me. This is not a school project. You must be 18 to participate. It’s not for dating (yuck! dating!) and you don’t share the address with others. You must commit to writing at least one letter a week for three months. You may never hear back from the people you write, but the simple act of writing makes me feel a little better. Maybe someday my soldiers will be lonely overseas and hear their names called at mail call.

A student comments on Theseus

  • Posted on April 28, 2009 at 10:24 PM

One of my 8th graders shared this review of Theseus: Battling the Minotaur by Jeff Limke, illustrated by John Graphic Myths and Legends: Theseus: Battling the Minotaur: a Greek Myth (Graphic Universe)McCrea. Lerner Books, © 2009. He wrote:

This book is a thrilling adventure about a Greek Myth where a young man goes on a great adventure to Athens. While on his journey he encounters many bandits. When he gets to Athens he is given a task to go to a foreign country and defeat an "invincable" monster. Anyone who reads this book will be quickly immersed in every binding of it. Good for grades 6-12.

I think the best part is that other students are reading his comments and including their own when they return the books. I may be getting more writing from the students than their Language Arts teachers, just one paragraph at a time!

Most popular new graphic novels? Lerner's Graphic Myths and Legends

  • Posted on April 28, 2009 at 7:47 PM

Atlanta: The Race Against Destiny by Justine & Ron Fontes with pencils & inks by Thomas Yeates. Lerner Publishing.  © 2007. ISBN 0-8225-5965-X

Psyche & Eros: The Lady and the Monster by Marie P. Croall with pencils & inks by Ron Randall.Lerner Publishing ©2009 ISBN 978-0-8225-7177-3

I believe I will never get these books catalogued because the 6th graders keep sweet-talking them out of my hands to "preview". Who knew how popular Greek Myths could be in graphic format? Well, I guess Lerner knew. You’d better order these while you can. When students are so obsessed that they’ll go online to see how many Lerner created and then come back and demand them, you know you’ve got a hit on your hands. 

When these first came in, I offered one to a sweetie-pie student who comes early to school daily and checks the lost & found for lost library books. In class two other boys read over his shoulder and escaped from their substitute teacher’s hands to rush in and ask to read some. Then at lunch time all 3 plus 3 more students came in to exchange and read more. Finally the assistant principal got wise by the 5th period and told them they couldn’t skip class any more to come to the library. My compromise was to send the entire series to one of their teachers so they could read and re-read them in his class.

Still, that wasn’t good enough because they decided the teacher wasn’t sharing them. The teacher admits that he did lock them up (the books, not the kids) after 4 periods of trying to teach while they were ignoring him and reading these books. So I took them back and attempted to catalogue them. Unfortunately they are so new, I had to send off a plea for our district cataloguer to add them to the system. Meanwhile, the students saw them on the shelf and wheedled them back out of my hands. I cannot wait to get them out from behind my desk! Also, while I received the Greek myths first, I saw that many other cultures are represented like Arabian, Japanese, Mayan, English, Chinese, Egyptian, East African, Aztec, West Africa, Norse, and Swiss.

While I prefer the hardcover 1000% due to the constant use, I did see paperbacks listed available only from the publisher’s website. I’m thinking gift books here.  Check out the next blog post to see a student review.

Mother Poems by Hope Anita Smith

  • Posted on April 25, 2009 at 8:00 PM

Last year I loved Keeping the Night Watch by Hope Anita Smith, so I Mother Poemswanted to be sure to read her newest book, even in galley, Mother Poems. Excellent 72-page book of poems. Smith has another winner on her hands for middle school and upper elementary. I’m so glad I was able to share this with my faculty during National Poetry Month. It’s out in stores for you to order.

I did have to be very careful while placing my galley copy in teachers hands. I had to explain that this is not a cheery-feel-good -about-your- mother-while-helping-the-class-write-Mother’s-Day-poems title. The poems stand on their own, but they are part of a larger story of the author’s mother who sadly dies half way through Mother Poems.

Mother Poems is a beautiful tribute to one mother, the late mother of the girl who begins this book and who continues to share moving poems as she grows and learns to cope. Learning to cope and to continue living without her mother is a major part of this story. Thank Goodness this book lost it’s rumored earlier name – the name of one of the last poems in this book and a definite tearjerker. Instructions on How to Lose Your Mother

The folk-art illustrations are deceptively simple as Hope Anita Smith uses torn paper collages to create faceless characters in bold colors on pure white pages. The reader can more easily put him/herself into these pictures and feel the pain of the author as she first celebrates the wonderfulness of her mother, then the shock of loss, and the emptiness while rebuilding. This may be the first book Hope Anita Smith illustrated, but her expressiveness through body language makes this a distinctive work. 

My favorite poem is Good Behavior. Here the little girl details all the things she does to try to be good to bring back her mother. It ends:

But it doesn’t help.
My mother is still gone.
Tomorrow
I will try harder.

Argh! I get so weepy each time I read the entire poem because I know of children who try to be so good, try to re-invent themselves so their late parents will return. 

Check out these links on the web:
A Year of Reading’s Franki
Check out Macmillan’s site on Mother Poems
Sylvia Hardell’s blog Poetry For Children includes a list of poetry collections about love & loss, also a list of poetry books for mothers since Mother’s Day is coming soon.
NPR’s poetry highlight includes Hope Anita Smith reading her poems. Don’t miss it!

Messages from Marian Wright Edelman's speech

  • Posted on April 24, 2009 at 6:59 AM

Marian Wright Edelman is a dynamic speaker. I will travel to hear her again! We need her to speak at our library conferences because she goes to the true heart of education – the needs of the child. I recall seeing a biography of her on my shelves, but her message had never reached me as it did during the Arbuthnot lecture weekend.

Do you know about the Freedom Schools? The CDF Freedom Schools program provides summer and after-school enrichment that helps children fall in love with reading, increases their self-esteem, and generates more positive attitudes toward learning. I want to work with people in the Nashville area to bring a Freedom School to our students. I challenge you to do the same in your area.

Marian Wright Edelman insists that children are advocates and activists now. We are training them and investing in them for the future, but they are advocating now. Through service and civic activities like the Children’s Defense Funds CDF and their summer programs, young people are active and living up to our expectations. 

Edelman says, "If you expect children to live up to your expectations, let them know the strengths within them." 

"The test of morality is how we treat our children." Edelman cited the statistics on children born in poverty, that someone drops out of school every TEN SECONDS, that 80% of black and Hispanic children cannot read and/or compute at grade level. According to the CDF "Attainment of at least a high school diploma is the single most effective, preventive strategy against adult poverty.  Yet the U.S. has the sixth lowest high school graduation rate among the 30 industrialized countries that are OECD members."

"These things must change." We must replace the concept of "Cradle to prison pipeline" with a PIPELINE TO COLLEGE reality. The imbalance of black boys who are imprisoned and the imbalances of poverty among our students are the new American Apartheid. Edelman says we must make different choices. 

We must have health care, mental health care, and prenatal care for everybody, for every child, and for the 800,000 mothers every year without prenatal care. We are the only "civilized" nation that allows this atrocity of no prenatal care to continue. 

Edelman realizes President Obama has many demands on him, but quoted him for his concerns on education, early childhood support, and the Children’s Health mandate. We need to get kids into teaching and not into law schools, says Edelman. We need a broad citizen’s movement. 

What can you do?

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[mayalin3a+chapel.jpg]Dr. Sheadrick A. Tillman the CDF managing director spoke about the facilities on the Children’s Defense Fund Alex Haley farm. Look at this picture (thanks to blog of Krisscop’s House) of the chapel designed by Maya Lin. 

The CDF is a smoke-free, drug-free, alcohol-free, violence-free, and hate-free environment. It is a private, non-profit organization that accepts no federal, state, or local government funds. He wants crowds to visit and people to feel comfortable there. Children cannot vote, lobby, spend, or send petitions to speak for themselves. CDF helps provide investments in children before they are sick, in trouble, drop out, get pregnant or suffer family breakdowns. If you want to host an event or retreat dealing with children’s issues in the calming, serene atmosphere of the CDF Haley Farm, contact cdfhaley@childrensdefense.org or call 865-457-6466.

Dr. Tillman says of Marian Wright Edelman, she is a "living legend with vision beyond common sight."

Messages I heard from Walter Dean Myers' Arbuthnot lecture

  • Posted on April 24, 2009 at 6:32 AM

Walter Dean Myers named his Arbuthnot Lecture "The Geography of the Heart". He said , "I write books for the troubled boy I once was and for the boy inside me still.

Of course he was an avid reader while growing up. For him, reading worked. He mastered the skill of decoding and the creative process of creating ownership through cultural schemas and secondary creation. 

But his reading mind was prepared long before he came to the written word because he experienced the oral tradition. He had family members like his foster mother who spoke with him. 

His intellectual geography was based on dynamics of his parents and his cultural background. It mirrored the larger mainstream culture. You wanted something and he felt you could achieve it. Later he came to understand the Geography of the Heart. His personal geography followed the trend of popular culture. 

It was a natural transition for him from reader to writer as he began emulating stories read by writing them. In his heart he knew that "Reading is good for human beings." Through his writing and thinking, he created a mythical character who declares to his teacher, "He don’t want to read no books." Jeremy understands the message "reading is good for human beings" but then adds on silently to the end "…for you."

Viewing Jeremy, Walter Dean Myers explored his physical and intellectual geography, but Jeremy’s skills are different. His geography is different. He wants transformative experiences when reading – instant changes. Jeremy hears what others say, but his experiences change his reaction. He sees a group of young black men standing around with no jobs because there ARE NO JOBS, not because they are unwilling to work. Many men are dropping out at 13 or 14 because of their personal geography and experiences. Incremental learning is not fair at this point.

With a realistic view of his surroundings or geography, Jeremy’s needs for the reading experience are different from mine
. Walter Dean Myers advocates for us to bridge that gap, to reach across their souls, to reach into their hearts, and to reach that place where we can bring our life to theirs. We have to give them HOPE. Lead them from stories of their lives to understand these children are alienated, and strangers in familiar gardens of the richest country on the earth. Still, strangers. 

Walter Dean Myers asked, "How many children don’t believe that reading is going to help them?"  We must discover where these students and readers are. We must build bridges to close our geography gaps.

If you were at the lecture, be sure to add your favorite points. I’ll point you to the print & online edition as soon as they are live. Sometimes there is so much to think about in a good workshop, that it’s hard to take notes and think simultaneously. Any corrections?

Getting to the Arbuthnot Lecture by Walter Dean Myers

  • Posted on April 22, 2009 at 12:00 AM

So a sullen student stalks to the circ desk, slams his selection down, and says, "Check me out ’cause my teacher says I hafta read and some guy said this author Walter Dean Myers was okay." I live for these moments. I casually slide a full-color print out of this picture, place it near the student’s book and say, "Hm. I chatted with this author this weekend and he seemed pretty cool. His son is just back from Iraq and I was able to share that mine leaves for Afghanistan Monday. He seems to know what he’s writing about." 

The student pauses and looks between book and photo. "So that’s the author? And you met him? Do you think, like maybe, he wrote this book Sunrise Over Fallujah with some real information, like with realistic stuff?" Then as he cheerfully struts toward the door he turns and says, "Ms Chen, you sure make that man look tall." If he only knew how great an author Walter Dean Myers is! (Be sure to click the next blog post to read more of the speeches)

I had the great pleasure of traveling with two librarians Tracy and Hope to Clinton, Tennessee just north of Knoxville on Saturday in anticipation of hearing Walter Dean Myers. I have been a big fan of Walter Dean Myers since I first booktalked Fallen Angels to middle schoolers in Iowa City, Iowa under Denise Rehmke’s tutelage. He is the award winning author of fiction, nonfiction, picture books, poetry and admitted he’d even written some romance novels in his earlier days.

The Children’s Defense Fund and the Langston Hughes Library hosted the 2009 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture on the Alex Haley Farm with the support of The University of Tennessee – Knoxville, and the Knox County Public Library.  

I’d never been to the location, but was very curious about visiting and seeing the Maya Lin architecture.
Children’s Defense Fund Founder and President Marian Wright Edelman spoke earlier in the program. She was worth the three hour trip by herself. I am now motivated to work harder with student advocates.

The Langston Hughes Library of the Children’s Defense Fund, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for the welfare of all children, is a special library housed in a traditional cantilever barn redesigned by  Lin.  Since the Langston Hughes Library is celebrating its 10th anniversary this spring 2009, many board members were on hand to hear the Arbuthnot Lecture including Karen Lemmon (pictured on the right with Nancy Dickinson).  The Haley Farm and Langston Hughes Library art collection includes original artwork by Bryan Collier, Tom Feelings, Tyrone Geter and Jacob Lawrence. Many of these works were on display in the library and in the chapel area. The library is a dream and worth a visit. The farm is open for events and for weekend retreats if you need to experience the feeling of "getting away" when you aren’t far from the city (Knoxville).

What is the Arbuthnot Lecture and who was this Arbuthnot person? May Hill Arbuthnot (1884-1969) was born in Mason City, IA (hello home state!). With William Scott Gray, she created the "Dick and Jane" series which taught my fellow students to read in the 70s and which I used to teach ESL students in Taiwan during the mid-80s. 

More importantly Arbuthnot wrote Children and Books, the first edition of which was published in 1947.  Her other works include The Arbuthnot Anthology of Children’s Literature and Children’s Books Too Good to Miss. During my college education, I still used all of these. Her name was so BIG I didn’t realize she had died when I was a toddler. My professors spoke so reverently of her work I was sure she was alive and prepared to swoop down and correct my childish reviews. The Arbuthnot committee comes from ALA’s Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). I’ve been aware of this lecture, but never took the simple step of going. What a shame?! You shouldn’t miss this.

According to the ALA site the Arbuthnot lecturer is announced annually at the ALA Midwinter Meeting and "may be an author, critic, librarian, historian, or teacher of children’s literature, of any country, who shall prepare a paper considered to be a significant contribution to the field of children’s literature."
 
After the lecturer is named, institutions wanting to host the lecture may apply. Thanks to Theresa Venable, the Langston Hughes Library won this year! The lecture is given every April then published in Children & Libraries, the journal of the Association for Library Service to Children. ALSC established the lecture series in 1969 with sponsorship from Scott, Foresman and Company. The lectureship is now funded by the ALSC May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Endowment, and administered by ALSC.

Kathleen T. Horning, director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC), will deliver the 2010 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture. I’m excited about attending and cannot wait for the announcement of the location. Take a look at the list of past lecturers and their locations. Where do YOU think the next Arbuthnot lecture will be held and will YOU be there?

CHRONOLOGY OF ARBUTHNOT HONOR LECTURES

 

YEAR             LECTURER                               SITE
2010                Kathleen T. Horning (U.S.A.)        it could be you

2009                Walter Dean Myers (U.S.A.)        Clinton, Tennessee

2008                 David Macaulay (U.S.A.)             Madison, Wisconsin

2007                 Kevin Henkes (U.S.A.)                Lexington, KY

2006                 Russell Freedman (U.S.A.)           Williamsburg, VA

2005                 Richard Jackson (U.S.A)                Philadelphia, PA

2004                 Ursula K. LeGuin (U.S.A.)             Phoenix, AZ

2003                 Maurice Sendak (U.S.A.)               Cambridge, Massachusetts

2002                 Philip Pullman (England)                 Queens, New York

2001                 Susan Cooper (U.S.A.)                   Portland, Oregon

2000                 Hazel Rochman (U.S.A.)                Storrs, Connecticut

1999                 Lillian N. Gerhardt (U.S.A.)            San Jose, California

1998                 Susan Hirschman (U.S.A.)              Columbia, South Carolina

1997                 Katherine Paterson (U.S.A.)            Aberdeen, South Dakota

1996                 Zena Sutherland (U.S.A.)                 Dallas, Texas

1995                 Leonard Everett Fisher (U.S.A.)       Milwaukee, Wisconsin

1994                 Margaret K. McElderry (U.S.A.)      Coronado, California

1993                 Virginia Hamilton (U.S.A.)               Richmond, Virginia

1992                 Charlotte Huck (U.S.A.)                   Bozeman, Montana

1991                 Iona Opie (England)                          Washington, D.C.

1990                 Ashley Bryan (U.S.A.)                     New Orleans, Louisiana

1989                 Margaret Mahy (New Zealand)         Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

1988                 John Bierhorst (U.S.A.)                     Norman, Oklahoma

1987                 James Houston (Canada)                   DeKalb, Illinois

1986                 Aidan Chambers (England)                Little Rock, Arkansas

1985                 Patricia Wrightson (Australia)             Bloomington, Indiana

1984                 Fritz Eichenberg (U.S.A.)                   Minneapolis, Minnesota

1983                 Leland B. Jacobs (U.S.A.)                 Athens, Georgia

1982                 Dorothy Butler (New Zealand)           Orlando, Florida

1981                 Virginia Betancourt (Venezuela)         Denton, Texas

1980                 Horst J. Kunze (Germany)                 Milwaukee, Wisconsin

1979                 Sheila Egoff (Canada)                        Columbia, South Carolina

1978                 Uriel Ofek (Israel)                             Boston, Massachusetts

1977                 Shigeo Watanabe (Japan)                   Boise, Idaho

1976                 Jean Fritz (U.S.A.)                            Los Angeles, California

1975                 Mollie Hunter (Scotland)                    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1974                 Ivan Southall (Australia)                     Seattle, Washington

1973                 Betinna Hurlimann (Switzerland)         Kansas City, Missouri

1972                 Mary Ørvig (Sweden)                         Chicago, Illinois

1971                 John Rowe Townsend (England)          Atlanta, Georgia

1970                 Margery Fisher (England)                    Cleveland, Ohio

Michael Phelps: Anything is Possible

  • Posted on April 20, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Michael Phelps: Anything is Possible (Defining Moments Super Athletes) by Meish Goldish. Bearport Publishing, 2009. ISBN: 9781597168557

Simple 32-page biography of the achievements of Michael Phelps. This seems most appropriate for elementary school readers with the shortened sentences and simple vocabulary. I appreciated the ending material: Just the facts and a Timeline. Did you know that Michael eats up to 10,000 calories a day when training? 

What’s not in this book? There’s nothing about any trouble with the law. That’s okay for elementary school focusing on the sports achievements, but my middle-schoolers are going to want to refer to his more recent trials to overcome and what defines an athlete off the field and beyond the winning moment. 

If you go on the internet and start looking for Michael Phelps photographs, you are going to see a huge number of photos of him exalting in his wins (and understandably so). There are no pictures of Michael screaming in this title which is a relief to me. I needed the diversity of this title.

Once again I have to shout out to the ceative director: Spencer Brinkler and photo researcher: Omni-Photo Communications, Inc. I particularly like the photo on page 21 of just the upper half of his face taken by Rob Griffith. The photos in this biography focus on Michael striving for victory.
 
This is a fine addition to elementary sports collections. Also in the series is LeBron James: I Love Challenges. 

Black Mambas and a new favorite for snake books

  • Posted on April 18, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Black Mambas: Sudden Death by Nancy White is part of the series Fangs from Bearport Publishing. (2009 ISBN 9781597167666) This book has caused me to add 2  new favorite categories when I’m reviewing books:

Favorite Designer:  Dawn Beard Creative
Favorite Photo Researcher: Q2A Media: Poulomi Basu

If you haven’t started ordering Bearport titles for your elementary and middle school after all I’ve shared with you, there is something wrong with your eyes! This particular title is short enough (24 pages) for your elementary students to tackle, but my middle schoolers picked it up to pour over the illustrations. 

The people choosing the photos and the people designing the layout of this series are doing an amazing job. I particularly love the font used for the titles and how the asymetric layout of photos forces the reader to keep turning those pages. 

As for the content, the facts are clearly and descriptively written. Sentence length is not too long. There are plenty of facts for note-taking and sharing. I appreciated the map showing where in Africa Black Mambas live. I have always wanted to visit Africa (anyone offering me a free trip), but now I think I’d prefer to visit the locations where Black Mambas DON’T live. <shudder> I think I’ll go show my best friend Virginia the picture of the inside of a black mamba’s mouth. Virginia has a fear of snakes though and she might just hurt me. This is one intense photo of the world’s fastest snake whose bite is 100% deadly. <double shudder> 

You are going to have to get this series, especially for your elementary students.

Rock me, Rebels, with these muscial titles from Enslow

  • Posted on April 17, 2009 at 1:55 PM

 Poor Bob, my technical support specialist. He was trying to fix computers in the library and I was following him around asking questions like, "Are you a DEADHEAD?" while the Spanish class was researching Hispanic athletes. We have determined that we are muy simpatico in our musical interests. 

Enslow Publishing released a series called Rebels of Rock for 2009 including titles like:

Grateful Dead: "What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been" by Michele C. Hollow ISBN 978-0-7660-3028-2 includes one of my favorite Jerry Garcia quotes: "We need magic, and bliss, and power, myth, and celebration and religion in our lives, and music is a good way to encapsulate a lot of it."*

KISS: I Wanna Rock and Roll All Night by Aileen Weintraub ISBN 978-0-7660-3027-5

Judas Priest: "Metal Gods" by Brian J. Bowe ISBN 978-0-7660-3029-9 said to be "the first to popularize wearing leather and metal studs." This sent me on the internet to try to verify whether they were the first or not. So far their claims are looking good.

The publisher’s description says: Each book highlights one classic rock band and describes how the members formed the band, how they wrote the music, any drama they might have encountered, concert tours, the number of albums, band break ups, and where are they now. These books also look at what was going on in the world around them at the time they were famous and at their peak. The books also look at each band’s lasting impact on today’s society

True middle school books, these titles contain 112 pages of biographical and historical information on each band including timelines, discographies, tour & album information, and mini-biographies of each person who performed with the band. Since some of these bands changed members frequently over their long history, this may be the best source for finding less-biased material than say, a fan’s internet tribute page. 

I had a hard time keeping these in the library long enough to review them – especially the KISS title. They are flying off the shelf. Students follow the one returning the book just so they can check it out before anyone else. My only complaint with the KISS book is that the cover doesn’t use their signature lightning bolts for S’s. Come on! Tell me that KISS refused to allow you to use their logo?! They love to see their name everywhere. Read the book and you’ll see how marketing played such an important part in their longevity. 

Actually, watch the Dr. Pepper Cherry commercial with Gene Simmons and son and you’ll see what I mean about KISS being able to promote themselves.  I love that commercial! That may also explain why I’m suddenly craving Dr. Pepper every time I drive through Taco Bell where my #3 son works. He’s just happy I stopped yelling through the drive-through that I needed a "Dr. Pepper with a KISS of cherry." I had to go to the website just so I could play with the photos and Get Kissed with Dr. Pepper.

KISS has always had that affect on my friends. I remember seeing their first album at my friend Sis Jenkins’ house. Her brothers and father were country music singers, but they owned KISS. Her older brother forced me to listen to Beth over and over and over again. Sing it with me "Beth, I hear you callin’ But I can’t come home right now. Me and the boys are playin’ And we just can’t find the sound. Just a few more hours…" (Lyrics from the LyricsFreak.)

These are very readable titles. As I mentioned earlier, they are perfect for the middle school level. There has been a great deal of interest in them by students I never suspected had heard of KISS, Judas Priest, or Grateful Dead. I can’t wait to see what’s next in the series. Shall we take a poll for the next bands?

* Quote from Blair Jackson, Garcia: An American Life (New york: Viking, 1999), p. 474.